You need to apply for restoration if you have been removed or struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. In order to be restored to the NMC register, you will need to satisfy the NMC that you are fitness to practise.
What is NMC fitness to practise?
The NMC defines fitness to practise as “being fit to practise requires a nurse, midwife or nursing associate to have the skills, knowledge, health and character to do their job safely and effectively.”
The NMC’s Code sets out the professional standards that nurses (including midwives and nursing associates) must uphold in order to be registered to practise in the UK. Where there is evidence that a nurse does not meet these standards, the NMC will investigate and act where necessary including removing (erasure or struck off) nurses, midwives or nursing associates from its register.
Applying for restoration
If a nurse has been struck off, they will need to apply for restoration. The burden of proof is on the nurse to show that they are now a fit and proper person to be restored to the register. A nurse can only apply for restoration after five years from the date the striking-off order came into effect (or from the date an appeal was dismissed by the relevant court). A fitness to practise committee panel will hear a nurse’s application for restoration.
An application for restoration is complex. Although you have a right to be represented before the fitness to practise committee panel (we strongly recommend you are), restoration is a process. Key to this process is clear, specialist advice and guidance to help set the right approach and strategy. We can advise nurses, midwives and nursing associates on statements, evidence, courses, insight and remediation to assist with restoration applications.
The fitness to practise committee panel will, for example, want to hear from about:
- What have you been doing since you were struck off?
- How do you feel about the incidents that led to your name being removed?
- How can you be sure something similar will not happen again?
- What would you like to do if your application is successful?
- How do you plan to get back into professional practice?
- What have you done to keep up to date with developments in the profession?
- Do you think you need professional updating? If so, how do you plan to get it?
It is important to remember that the fitness to practise committee panel is bound by the findings and decision of the panel that struck you off. The restoration hearing is not an opportunity to argue against the findings of the original panel, or the severity of its decision.
The panel can:
- Refuse the application in which case you will not be able to make a further application for another year.
- Grant the application subject to you satisfying requirements relating to additional education or training and experience. You will then need to complete the readmission process.
- Impose a conditions of practice order for up to three years which will come into effect once you have successfully completed the relevant education and training requirements and the readmission process.
Fitness to practise in the present tense
Fitness to practise is in the present tense (also referred to as “current impairment”). In practice, “current impairment” considers the fitness to practise of a healthcare professional at the point of consideration (i.e. application for restoration) not the time in the past when, for example, something went wrong. Therefore, the remediation steps taken since the time in the past is important to demonstrate fitness to practise in the present.
Right to be represented
Nurses, midwives and nursing associates have a right to be represented in restoration hearings before a fitness to practise panel. Whilst representation before a panel is important and advisable, you must remember that restoration is a process. It will take time to gather the relevant evidence to support your case for restoration.
It is therefore important to seek expert legal advice at an early stage. We work with clients over an appropriate length of time to ensure they are in the best possible position when appearing before a NMC fitness to practise panel.
We have worked with many nurses to help them put in place the right strategy and approach to put them in the best possible position before fitness to practise committees. Below are cases in which we advised nurses who were facing fitness to practise proceedings:
- Nurse restored to the NMC Register – We successfully restored to the NMC Register after being convicted of a serious dishonesty offence and having been removed from the register for nearly a decade.
- No further conditions of practice for nurse in NMC case – We worked with a nurse over the term of the order to ensure that no other conditions would be put in place by the time of the review.
Disclaimer: This article is for guidance purposes only. Kings View Chambers accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken, or not taken, in relation to this article. You should seek the appropriate legal advice having regard to your own particular circumstances.
I am a NMC Defence Barrister who has represented large number of medical professionals before their regulatory bodies in either first instance proceedings or appeals.
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